eureka: gold in miami

No Aravanes were hurt in the making of these clothes: Even with Aravane Rezai out early at the Sony Ericsson Open — the 20th seed got upset by Peng Shuai in her opener — golden fashion lived on via Maria (Nike); in that flattering Sergio Tacchini dress on Dinara Safina; in the simple details of Radek Stepanek‘s normally eccentric clothes from Alea; and on Marcel Granollers‘ crew, by Joma.

(images via Getty Images)

jelena’s stars and stripes

Jelena Jankovic became one of Andrea Petkovic‘s scalps at this week’s Sony Ericsson Open, losing 6-2, 2-6, 4-6 to the German upstart in the quarterfinals. If it’s any consolation, Jelena’s put together a decent run so far in 2010: one final (Monterrey), two semis (Dubai and Qatar), and the fourth round at Indian Wells.

Anta: Jelena’s moved on from the pink dress she used to start the beginning of this year. Same slinky shape, but now in orange, with two blue stripes curving their way down the left side; the lines frame an odd print of fading circles and yellow stars. We saw the dress up close (while on Jankovic) but couldnt tell whether the pattern was a burnout.

Not her best (and really, we miss the ginormous white bags that came with last year’s clothes!), but props to Jelena for infusing our spring with even more neon.

In the trenches: Speaking of Petko, she’s currently playing for a spot in the SEO semis against Sharapova (as of this post, Andrea won the first set but is down a bageled set and 0-3 vs. the Russian). Maybe Maria’s getting tired of that dance.

(images via Getty Images)

how we survived in tursunov's absence

TSF was heartbroken to find out that Dmitry Tursunov wasn’t going to play at Indian Wells and Miami this year. Tournaments just aren’t the same without his pastiness hanging out in the practice courts (exhibits A and B). So as we felt the withdrawal kick in during our first days in the desert, this man saved the day.

Ridic.

Anyway, Igor Andreev made it as far as the second round at this week’s Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, where he lost to John Isner 4-6, 7-5, 6-7 (2). But that’s okay, Igor: winning isn’t why we keep you on our radar.

The tennis: Roger and Rafa play their quarterfinal matches today (vs. Simon and Berdych, respectively). The winner in that top half of the draw will play the winner of the Fish/Djokovic semi. We expect Nole to take this whole thing. Who’s your pick for the winner? (Browse: SEO Draws)

And in case you’re interested in seeing Igor clothed, some pics of his current Sergio Tacchini kit below.

(practice image by TSF; match images via Getty Images)

short balls: an ailing andy (and rafa drinks rum!)

By Benjamin Snyder

Flip flop: As the Sony Ericsson Open winds down, two very different players are working their way up in the rankings. For the men, it’s Mardy Fish, who overtook Andy Roddick as the top American man with a win over David Ferrer in the quarterfinals. A sick Roddick succumbed to Pablo Cuevas in the second round of the huge hard court Miami event and was bounced out of the top ten for the first time in some years.

Maria’s back in the habit: While the Williams sisters fall outside of the top ten with illness and injury, Maria Sharapova is rising back to the top tier with decent showings at Indian Wells and this week in Miami. Masha has Andrea Petkovic in the semis, a player who flattened her when the two met Down Under in Melbourne. (More Maria: Those earrings!)

… but no royal wedding, yet: Apparently, the 23-year-old Maria is in “no rush to get married,” according to Show Biz Spy. And why should she be? We’d like to see Maria win two or three more Majors – she’s got them in her, we think – before strolling down to take Sasha’s hand. Meanwhile: No playoffs for his Nets.

But seriously, is Maria just getting cold feet? “In the beginning I was really, really excited, and all my friends were giving me like wedding magazines and wedding books. But I was quite overwhelmed with it, and then I just put them down and said, ‘Okay, I have plenty of time.’ We’re still very young.”

TSF Exclusive: Rumors say Djokovic has strolled down the aisle

Swan song for Petko’s dance? While Petkovic even has the ever-awkward Ana Ivanovic shaking her tail feather on the tennis court, the German – who is matching her play to her popularity this week – is retiring her famous jig following this week. She told the press that it’s time to move on from the ditty, which became an underground hit in tennis realms. Is she lending her dance skills to B-Spears? We sure hope so. But notice: She said “move on.” We’re sensing another dance number folks, just something new and, well, so Petko.

Rum like Rafa: Rafael Nadal recently signed a deal with Bacardi, receiving some backlash in the process. Says Nadal, “I am not presenting alcohol party, you know. It’s a responsible campaign, a social campaign. Anyway, I think alcohol is inside our lives, so is nothing new, no?” No Rafa, it’s nothing new to us. And we appreciate your push for responsibility. More: YouTube channel | Facebook

‘Round the world: Then there are the two Missoula, Montana, teens who just broke the Guinness World Record for the longest singles tennis match, ever. Isner-Mahut looks like a Roehampton side court to this Centre Court effort. The two high school seniors clocked in nearly 61 hours of tennis over three days before collapsing, raising $7,000 for charity in the process. Snaps for those court warriors.

(Image by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

tsf exclusive: novak married? rumors say yes

Is that a dog on your finger? Or is your ring just really fluffy? (PacificCoastNews.com photo)

Sources tell TSF exclusively that Novak Djokovic and longtime GF Jelena Ristic tied the knot in a small, intimate ceremony in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, small islands in the Caribbean. The two were said to be staying at the Palm Island Resort in early March, which landed during Djoko’s time between Dubai and Davis Cup.

TSF was unable to confirm such rumors. So they remain just that – rumors. The Palm Island Resort would not confirm if Djokovic had stayed there in the recent past, and emails to his agent, Benito Pérez-Barbadillo, have gone unanswered this week. No mention of the trip was made on Djoko’s website. One local resident of the island confirmed Djokovic had been there, but did not want to be identified.

Nole and Ristic have been a solid couple the last few years, the two vacationing together quite often and recently pictured in Dubai over the holidays holding hands and strolling on the beach. Whether or not one of those hands has a big rock – metaphorically or not – on it now, remains to be told.

in miami, a stroll down peekaboo street

When in Florida, do as the Miamians do — show skin! The ladies playing in this week’s Sony Ericsson Open did their part, with keyholes and other cutouts showing up in kits during match play.

From left to right: Dominika Cibulkova in Lacoste; Kim Clijsters in Fila‘s Center Court Cap Sleeve Top (Buy); Ana Ivanovic in the adiZero Dress (Buy). Not pictured: the adidas Response tank, worn by the likes of Andrea Petkovic during practice; see it here.

Brackets: Kimmie is still in the running for the SEO title after that super-close three-set fourth-round match against Ivanovic (poor Ana was up 1-5 in the third and had five match points). She now faces Vika Azarenka for a spot in the semis. (Browse: SEO Draws)

(images via Getty Images)

sharapova's teardrops — the good kind

Maria Sharapova took over three hours to defeat 26th seed Alexandra Dulgheru 3-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) in the quarters of this week’s Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. Up next will be Andrea Petkovic, who’s already upset Caro Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic on the way to the semis. And things don’t look good for Maria: Petko’s already beaten her once this year, at the fourth round in Melbourne.

In the bottom half of the women’s draw, the Radwanksa/Zvonareva and Clijsters/Azarenka matches’ll determine who ends up with spots in the semis. (Scan: SEO Draws)

But who cares about Masha’s ugly stats — 17 double faults; twice as many unforced errors as Dulgheru — or that she rolled her ankle late in the third set? Take a look at those turquoise teardrop earrings from Tiffany! Matches her turquoise dress, of course.

Buy: Elsa Peretti Teardrop earrings, $725, tiffany.com.

(image via Getty Images)

del potro pumps up the volume

What an apropos shirt on Juan Martin del Potro, who — even though he fell to Mardy Fish 7-5, 7-6 (5) in the fourth round of this week’s Sony Ericsson Open — has continued to work his way back to the top of the game after last year’s debilitating wrist injury: he followed up two early round losses in Sydney and Melbourne with three semi appearances (San Jose, Memphis, Indian Wells) and a title at Delray Beach. Next week’s rankings should put him just inside the top 50.

Draw: Up next for Fish is a possibility of taking over the top American spot on the ATP (ousting Roddick). He’ll need to defeat David Ferrer to get this done. (Scan: SEO Draws)

We couldn’t find this yellow Nike crew on any retailer’s site, but we’re all about the subtle circles up top and the honeycomb columns on the bottom. Looks like an equalizer display, no? (Update: This is the Showdown Movement Top, $55. The polo version is available at Tennis Express.)

Two shots: More Delpo after the cut…

clijsters lends her hand(writing) to the japanese cause

Fundraiser: Kim Clijsters did her part to raise awareness and funds for those affected by the tsunami that hit Japan while the tennis world had all eyes at Indian Wells. Working with her sponsor, Fila, a shirt was designed and turned around in about a week — ready for sale at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne. All proceeds will be donated to relief efforts.

Info: We’re not really big on wearing autographed things, but this one’s an exception: men’s versions available for $30 (in red or navy); women’s in black and red for $28. Unfortunately, only for sale at the tournament. They’re selling like hotcakes, so hopefully those who want it can get it.

Brackets: Kimmie is still in the running for the SEO title. She faces Ana Ivanovic today for a spot in the quarters. The winner will meet Vika Azarenka. (Draws: SEOpen)

Group Shot! Two more images of the players wearing their Japan shirts after the cut. We love Victor Troicki‘s photo face! [Read more...]